When most people think about pirates, they think of a wooden leg, a patch eye, a parrot, huge sails on the ship and a huge amount of rum. This isn’t so true nowadays. contrary to popular belief pirates still exist and still cause a huge amount of havoc in the water, killing people, kidnapping people, stealing from ships, raping people, everything bad you can think of really. Although it isn’t on such a large scale as back in the 17th century where they used huge wooden vessels carrying over 100 men, nowadays they are usually little dinghies carrying 6 or 7 men armed with machetes, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
You might be thinking “how do ships defend themselves” but there are a few techniques and equipment in place to stop the pirates from attacking, for example some ships are fitted with large water cannons which fire water at a substantial amount of force, cruise ships are sometimes fitted with razor wire and long range acoustic devices which can induce painful tones. There are even private “mercenaries” that people hire to defend themselves against pirates.
There are quite a few areas in the world which have been issued piracy and armed robbery prone area warnings, the list includes: Chittagong- Bangladesh, tan Jung prior- Indonesia, Lagos- Nigeria, Abidjan- Ivory Coast, Somalia.
Pirate attacks are rare, but when they happen they are usually either well thought out strategically attacks or “opportunistic” attacks, here are a few famous attacks that have happened over the years.
- The MV sea bourn spirit luxury cruise ship was attacked just of the coast of Somalia in early 2005. The ship was carrying 210 crew members and passengers and was attacked by two small speedboats. The pirates where equipped with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades and opened fire at the ship demanding it to stop, luckily the ship’s crew did not give up and made the pirates cease fire and quit after defending itself with huge water cannons and a long range acoustic device.
- The cargo ship MV danica white which is Danish owned was hijacked and then moved in Somalian waters, on June the 3rd the uss carter hall engaged on the taken ship firing machine gun bursts at the skiffs, but this failed to stop them. After 83 days of captivity the crew were released after the owner paid $1.5 million in ransom.
- Pirates captured for a small amount of time the MV Maersk Alabama which is a 17000 ton cargo ship, at the time the ship was taking emergency relief supplies for Kenya, this was part of series of weeklong pirate attacks along the coast of Somalia. The crew took back control of the ship, but the captain was taken hostage by the escaping pirates by lifeboat. After 4 days the captain was released after his captors where shot dead by us snipers who rescued him.
- On the 1st April 2010 the uss Nicholas came under fire from Somali pirates who mistook the huge war ship for a merchant vessel, this was definitely the worst choice they could have ever made. The uss Nicholas seized five of the pirates and sank their ship during the fighting, they also captured the mother ship which was a few miles away. the pirates where tried in the u.s and convicted of piracy, each received a life sentence plus 80 years in prison for piracy, engaging on a plunder vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal persons, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence and many firearm counts.